Minor Miracle. I’m Reading Again

On New Year’s Day this year I made one formal resolution — to read again.

For nearly a year and a half Rylan was my excuse (and a damn good one) for being far to tired, busy and generally overwhelmed on a daily basis to read books other than toddler cookbooks and a random US Weekly Magazine.

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As of March 26 I’ve successfully finished two fiction books for fun. No where in these books were tips for getting your toddler not to hit, or sneaking in spinach to smoothies. These books were all for me to relax and escape. It feels fantastic to reconnect with such a simple yet important habit.

First I read And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I absolutely loved it. The weaving of Afghan history through numerous, heart breaking stories kept me intrigued from start to finish. I cannot recommend this book enough.

This week while in Florida I was able to plow through the beach read Where’d You Go Bernadette. This one took me a bit to get hooked. But hooked I was by about a quarter of the way through and I really enjoyed the sassy, fast-paced story with its unexpected twists at the very end. It’s a great vacation or weekend read.

Next I’ve downloaded The Boston Girl and I hope to dive in over the weekend during one or two of Ry’s naps. Or at the very least, a few pages each night before bed. Reading, no matter how riveting the plot, is like NyQuil for me. Three pages and I cannot keep my eyes open!

If you have other recommendations I’d love for you to them! I’m determined to keep up a realistic but steady pace this year.

Fastest March Ever

The end of March is around the corner, officially making it the most “on crack fast” month of the year so far. We had a lot to look forward to this month, which naturally makes it fly by in the blink of an eye.

I rounded out my 2014/2015 ski season on day 18 (not bad for having a toddler!) in Vail at the beginning of the month. Then the second weekend of March I got to sneak away to the luxurious St. Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder for a night with two dear college + mom friends. Our massages, quiet time sipping bubbles on the patio, shopping and a decadent moms-only dinner at Black Cat was just what each of us needed.

Then the very best part came…our week long Florida beach escape to Hutchinson Island with Mike’s parents and sister’s family.

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As a southern California girl I haven’t spent much time in Florida. The beaches and delicious seafood wildly exceeded my expectations and I took advantage of every moment. There were hours of sand castle building and chasing waves, reading and solo time while Rylan napped, afternoon Mai Tai’s and beers, good nights of sleep and quiet morning runs. Rylan ate lobster, clams, calamari, oysters and crab cakes like they were going out of style. I reconnected with my nieces and nephew during faux shark attack play times in the pool and beach walks for seashells. I cried when we left…always the sign of a good, unplugged trip. I can’t wait to share more pictures.

March has made me appreciate and reflect a lot. We’re healthy. And really lucky to be surrounded by friends who are like family. And speaking of family, I’m not sure anyone has two sets of parents, siblings and nieces/nephews as fun and endlessly generous as we do.

Simply perfect months are few and far between, but this has been one. I am clinging to the way my heart feels at this moment with all my might so I can tap back into it when future days or weeks are not so hot.

March 2015. One for the books.

A Thought on Motherhood

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Earlier this week I was driving Rylan to daycare. Mike had been traveling, Rylan had been up every night coughing and I was simply wiped. In fact, later that day I tried to wipe what I thought was ink from my face only to realize it was the circles under my eyes. Sexy.

During our drive I was in a total zone. I was thinking about all of the things I wish we were doing now for Rylan, rather than focusing on all that we are doing with the limited time we have together as a family.

Sign him up for swim lessons. Find a Saturday music or movement class to meet, hopefully, other moms who work outside the home and some kids in our neighborhood. Read more. Say “screw the mess” and recreate one of the many art projects he completes at daycare on our front porch on a nice day. Go the the library for a story time.

But then I had this little personal epiphany. It made me smile and dissipated the lump I still get on my throat during many morning daycare drives.

I may have become a mom in an instant, but it’s going to take a lifetime of trial and error to become the mom I envision myself being.

I say “instant” because even though pregnancy is nine long months, I didn’t feel like a mom yet. I still got to sleep as much as I wanted. Go to the gym based on my schedule alone. Take trips without guilt and only keep cereal and milk in the house if life was too hectic for a grocery store run. Pregnancy chips away a little at your selfishness but not completely.

It was, however, an instant between the last push in the delivery room and the moment Rylan was put on my chest. Seemingly within an hour or two, all the nurses and doctors who hovered over me during labor were on to the next family and there I was–a mom. A clueless and terrified mom holding this tiny little boy. A clueless and terrified mom with a lot of hopes and dreams of what motherhood would look like.

Some have come true. Some have not yet.

As moms we tend to dwell on the “have not” when there is so much to celebrate on the other end of the spectrum. However, I am actually okay with the regularly questioning of myself. Asking myself, what we can be doing better? While exhausting it means we’re really in it–living parenthood every day. I care so damn much about making Rylan a well-rounded little guy.

This post is not intended for people to tell me that I am a good mom. I am not looking for empathy or cheerleading of any kind.

I simply feel the need to reach out and connect with the other mamas out there who feel the same way–that motherhood is an instantaneous shift, yet it takes every hour of every day to figure out what the hell you are doing!

I am thankful every day for my network of support–spoken and unspoken. And wine. I am very grateful for wine.

The “It” List ~ Oct. 7 Edition

 

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Happy Friday Ladies! 
Take some time to check out these great links!

  • gs lillian shares these quirky loafers and flats she found – how fun are these? Check out her blog to see more fun styles! (find gs lillian on twitter!)
  • sweetie pie style never disappoints with her simple and inspiring Monday posts.  This “just breathe” photo has me swooning! (find sweetie pie style on twitter!)
  • lex and learn tries stuffed peppers for the first time… yum, these look amazing! (find lex and learn on twitter!)
  • rachael, really gives us the scoop on gel nails. I love her insight here – have you ever tried them? (find rachael, really on twitter!)
  • little girl in a big world is vowing to shop her closet… I need to be better about this too! (find little girl in a big world on twitter!)
  • everyday mom style shows us her sideline attire – all you ‘soccer moms’ know what I mean! And I love this outfit… perfect for a stylish mom! (find everyday mom style on twitter!)
  • spot of whimsy is totally in fall mode… check out her gorgeous farmers market pictures and other snapshots of fall! (find spot of whimsy on twitter!)
  • fabulously average sports an adorable fall outfit including stripes and a few bold colors.  How could it get better than this? (find fabulously average on twitter!)
  • the style dossier has a flapper/20’s gal hair (and makeup!) tutorial.  Just in time for Halloween! (find the style dossier on twitter!)
  • simply bold is loving ponchos for fall!  Me too! See how she styles them up!
  • chic or treat shares her favorite beauty finds at Target – I always love a peek in to a fellow bloggers “shopping cart” so to say!  Check out her picks! (find chic or treat on twitter!)
  • take me for a twirl shares her favorite podcasts… are you a podcast addict too!?!? Check out her favorites! (find take me for a twirl on twitter!)
  • good life for less releases her newest e-book called “Blog Bits” where she dishes on how to grow and monetize your blog.  Check it out if you are interested in taking your blog to the next level! (find good life for less on twitter!)

 

Shopping for Staples

Every fashion magazine gives the same advice at the start of each season–buy a few key pieces to mix and match multiple ways to make your closet go further. Personally, I believe this is easiest with fall and winter wear, which is why I was impressed with a recent mailer from Banana Republic.

Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that I am in no way supported/paid by Banana Republic (though if their PR people are listening, I’ll gladly become a brand ambassador)! I just rarely look at advertisements in the mail, even if they have coupons, because I fear they will drive me to the mall when I don’t in fact need anything. So when I received “The Lucky Dozen” mailer, read it, and kept it, I knew Banana was on to something good.

The premise is that Lucky Magazine selected 13 must-have staples for fall. The picks include pants, blouses, jackets, sweaters, and shoes that can all be combined for a total of 31 looks. Impressive, right?

13 Individual Pieces (Credit: BananaRepublic.com)

31 Looks (Credit: BananaRepublic.com)

Naturally I don’t love every piece shown, and I have a few things in my closet already that come close enough, but I appreciate that Banana is “helping” me get more creative about how far I can stretch a pretty basic wardrobe. In particular, I can see myself getting a lot of mileage of out the Teresa Floral Blouse (though online they only seem to have navy left and I like the brighter pink shade), Button Neck Sweater, and Martin Flannel Trouser. I also really like the Dayna Sequin Skirt, but I just don’t think I have a lot of places to wear it right now.

Next week I’m taking my first stay-cation and a trip to the mall is in order. We’ve splurged on some big tickets items this summer, so I really don’t have much of a shopping budget right now. But, I do think investing in one or two new pieces will carry me through fall and winter nicely ~ especially if the Martin pants fit well. Plus, the mailer included a $30 shopping card for every $100 spent between Sept. 30 and Oct. 9. Justification problem solved!

If you can only afford to buy one or two fall staples this year, what are they going to be?

The “It” List ~ Sept. 30 Edition

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Happy Friday ladies!  
Explore some of these fabulous links to get your weekend off to a great start!
  • gs lillian says she is more comfortable in a dress or skirt than in jeans.  Are you the same? It’s not hard to see why, she always looks fabulous in dresses and skirts! (find gs lillian on twitter!)
  • lex and learn makes a very delicious looking semi-homemade pumpkin bunt cake – get her simple trick for this fall treat! (find lex and learn on twitter!)
  • simply bold just snagged a gorgeous pair of leather shorts… check out how she styles them up for fall!
  • rachael, really looks absolutely adorable in her denim shorts plus knee high socks plus hunter boots!  What a fun combo! (find rachael, really on twitter!)
  • take me for a twirl is totally rocking this bright green blazer – I am loving these looks! (find take me for a twirl on twitter!)
  • little girl in a big world does a fall weekend on the beach – check out her trip and live vicariously through her! (find little girl in a big world on twitter!)
  • everyday mom style wears a great patterned top to work, but wonders… is the pattern too much!?!? I don’t think so, I love it! (find everyday mom style on twitter!)
  • fabulously average shows you ladies how to layer even if you live in a warmer climate!  So cute! (find fabulously average on twitter!)
  • a spot of whimsy rounds up her favorite fall looks – and they are all just swoon worthy! Head on over and see her inspiration! (find a spot of whimsy on twitter!)
  • the style dossier lists their top reasons why fall will rock – such a fun list! (find the style dossier on twitter!)
  • sweetie pie style rounds up cozy and unique ways to add blankets to your home decor this fall!  These photos all look so warm and cozy! (find sweetie pie style on twitter!)
  • chic or treat finds these adorable velvet flats in several colors for such a steal! Stop by her blog to find out where to snag them! (find chic or treat on twitter!)
  • high heels and bubble gum puts together a fab outfit with white pants – yes, after Labor Day – that is perfect for fall! (find high heels and bubble gum on twitter!)
  • behind the dressing room door rounds up her top picks for Anthropologies recent 30% off sale! I am loving this gorgeous camel coat! (find behind the dressing room door on twitter!)
the IT list is produced weekly by jill of good life for less – for information on how you can be involved, click here!

The “It” List ~ Sept. 23 Edition

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Happy Friday ladies!  This week’s IT list has a decidedly fall feel!
Dig into these great links!
  • if I must say so is looking fall-chic in this chambray dress and Western booties – seriously, this is so cute! (find if I must say so on twitter!)
  • undeniable style is inspired by polka dots… see her inspiration and how she wears them! I am loving polka dots this season! (find undeniable style on twitter!)
  • gs lillian has a new series where she features a fun manicure style each week. I am so in love with this weeks design that she whipped up with these three polishes! (find gs lillian on twitter!)
  • a spot of whimsy continues her series “she” with another fabulous combo of eye candy and a quote.  Love this! (find a spot of whimsy on twitter!)
  • simply bold takes a bad hair day and turns it into a good one… plus, I love this little belt trick! 
  • lex & learn has a gorgeous selection of fall scarves… check out her picks! (find lex & learn on twitter!)
  • little girl in a big world scores some great pieces for fall at Old Navy and Target… check out her finds! (find little girl in a big world on twitter!)
  • take me for a twirl shows off her favorites for fall… of course, coffee is at the top of her list – it’s at the top of mine too! (find take me for a twirl on twitter!)
  • high heels and bubble gum is going on a shopping diet… but not before she snagged this super fun outfit! I love this layered tunic. Way to go out with a bang! (find high heels and bubble gum on twitter!)
  • rachael, really is sporting her new Hunter boots and looking fabulous doing it!  This outfit is so perfect for fall! (find rachael, really on twitter!)
  • sweetie pie style shows off her new obsession… party bars. I too am loving these… especially this apple cider bar!  What a fun way to entertain. (find sweetie pie style on twitter!)
  • behind the dressing room door has anthropologie’s new arrivals for fall and I am loving these bright corduroy pants – how fun! (find behind the dressing room door on twitter!)
  • one hundred inspirations has this stylish Heidi Klum look for less. I’m loving these colors!
  • good life for less is talking blazers, blazers, blazers!  Check out her top picks and her favorite way to wear them! (find good life for less on twitter!)
the IT list is produced weekly by jill of good life for less! for information on how you can be involved – click here!

The “It” List ~ Sept. 16

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Friday already? Celebrate the weekend with some fun links!
  • if I must say so is rocking some fall boots and they look fabulous!  Have you whipped out your fall boots yet? (find if I say so on twitter!)
  • undeniable style has a perfect day in this darling outfit… do you ever have all the components of one day align just so? I love it when that happens! And I am in love with her shoes! (find undeniable style on twitter!)
  • high heels and bubble gum pulls together the perfect Sunday outfit… how gorgeous is this ensemble? (find high heels and bubble gum on twitter!)
  • the style dossier always has the best tutorials… I’m loving this make-up tutorial that they call “bold and metallic” – gorgeous! (find the style dossier on twitter!)
  • behind the dressing room door always has her eyes on the best sale items at Anthropologie.  I love this cute jacket – it’s perfect for fall! (find behind the dressing room door on twitter!)
  • 100 inspirations recreates this great denim on denim outfit that Katie Holmes wears for less!
  • sweetie pie style is loving this mustard sweater – so am I!  See how she styles it three ways! (find sweetie pie style on twitter!)
  • fabulously average is seriously rocking the red pants – one of my all time favorite trends!  See how she wears them. (find fabulously average on twitter!)
  • take me for a twirl is headed back to school… what’s your favorite part about back to school? Or favorite memory? (find take me for a twirl on twitter!)
  • lex and learn rounds up her favorite black boots for fall… check out her gorgeous picks! (find lex and learn on twitter!)
  • gs lillian just snagged a pair of gorgeous green loafers and I am totally crushing on them.  Head on over and drool over them with me! (find gs lillian on twitter!)
  • a spot of whimsy rounds up some really fun Peter Pan inspired eye candy – go check it out and then dream about being a kid forever! (find a spot of whimsy on twitter!)
  • simply bold says all you need is love… or at least all you need is a cute “love” t-shirt!  I love this look!
  • good life for less is one of the hosts for the luxe lotto… have you entered to win a Kate Spade handbag and a Coach necklace yet? Check it out! (find good life for less on twitter!)
the IT list is produced weekly by Jill of good life for less – for information on how you can be involved, click here!

Covet: Fabulous Camera Bag

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We are now the proud owners of a Canon Rebel DSLR camera. Woot! I also purchased a DSLR for Dummies book that I am hopeful will guide us on how to take our skills beyond the basic settings.

Like always, one big purchase leads me to seek out accessories to take that purchase to the next level. New jeans? Those jeans would look even better with new boots. New coat? Better find a new scarf that looks chic to complete the look.

What does a gal need to accessorize her new camera? The perfect camera bag, of course. Luckily I do not need to look far, as I’ve had my eye on Jo Totes since first spotting them earlier this year on eighteen25.

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Not only are these camera totes super stylish, the insides appear to be extremely functional. While protecting the camera and lenses, you can also store your wallet, cell phone and a snack for later in the day! In particular, I can also envision every style serving as a very handy plane carry-on to accompany a larger roller bag.

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A Jo Toe is definitely going on my Christmas list. And yes, starting in September is when I begin to think of gifts I hope Santa brings me, as well as what I want to get my family and friends.

Too bad I wait until December 15th to shop, but more on my personal procrastination tendencies later.

Covet: Black Winter Boots

If I only buy myself one big item for fall/winter this year, it has to be black knee-length boots. I wore my only black pair into the ground last season. The shoe doctor couldn’t even fix them again (for a third time) come spring.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my hands on the pair I really wanted during the Nordstrom anniversary sale so I’m starting to “visit” covert-worthy boots on a nightly basis.

Just a few I am lusting after include…

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None of these boots are in my price range, but a girl can dream from the safety of her couch with all credit cards in the other room, right!?

What fall/winter fashion purchase (or “investment”) are you planning to make?

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